Despite “this terrible twentieth century,” many people remain confident that the twenty-first century belongs not to Communist tyrants but to the free world.

Yet nobody with a sense of history sees any real hope of that outcome apart from radical spiritual renewal. A former United States Army chief of chaplains, Ivan L. Bennett, points out that our country was “founded and developed within the framework of faith and hope in God. Today no nation possesses such resources of power, such reserves of plenty, such technical skills, and such reservoirs of compassion. Yet our day of destiny has come. Either we shall walk with God, or we shall sink into the dismal darkness that envelops nations forgetful of God.”

Any generation preoccupied with creature comforts and isolated from spiritual concerns is in the process of committing spiritual suicide. People who try to live without God cannot long live with one another, or with themselves. It takes moral earnestness and spiritual power to keep a civilization alive. To pay one’s debts, to mind one’s own business, to support the fight against cancer, and to keep the dog off the neighbor’s lawn—important as this suburban code may be—is no sure preservative of a way of life. Dr. Joseph R. Sizoo has somewhere detailed the tragic cost of our popular credo, “Get what you can; get it honestly, but get it.” It produces a society, he comments, in which people can eat caviar while a neighbor starves, or play solitaire on Persian rugs while slum children stumble in the streets because of malnutrition. Dr. Sizoo says of such a citizenry, “They can pick flowers on Golgotha while the Son of God dies and leave him hanging in the rain.”

As descriptive of the contemporary American mood, Congressman Walter ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.